Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms and Management

Is your child (age 16 or younger) complaining of stiff and painful  joints along with fever?

This may be symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis also known as idiopathic arthritis. It is a term that is used to describe any inflammatory conditions in children age 16 years or younger. It is one of the common chronic rheumatologic disorder of childhood.

Inside of our joints are covered with tissues known as the synovium. In juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, there is swelling of the synovium.

Iage Source: verywell.com
Iage Source: verywell.com

What are the Causes of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

  • The exact etiology is unknown, but JRA is considered to be an autoimmune disease. It is a condition where the body is unable to differentiate between the harmful and healthy body cells. In JRA the body immune system releases certain chemicals that start damages the healthy tissues.
  • Genetic susceptibility is also an important factor to let the diseases set in.
  • JRA is more common in girl
  • Studies show that the children who are exposed to antibiotics during childhood are more at the risk of developing Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Certain environmental factors such as virus are also known the trigger the disease condition.

What are the symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms may last for a few months or may persist for life long. Mostly the symptoms are mild. In some cases, it may lead to complications such as growth and eye health problems.

Following are the common symptoms of Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis:

  1. Pain- Child may limp due to pain, especially after waking up.
  2. Swelling- It is,more common noticed first in larger joints, for example, knee joint.
  3. Stiffness- Due to which child becomes clumsier. This is commonly seen after waking up.
  4. More than one joint may be affected.
  5. Swollen lymph nodes
  6. Recurrent fever
  7. Rashes
  8. Motion Limited

There may be times when symptoms disappear and then flare up after an interval.

What are the test and diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

  1. The blood test is done to determine:
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate- It helps to determine the degree of inflammation.
  • C-reactive protein- in response to inflammation is produced by the liver.
  • Anti-nuclear antibody- They are proteins found in children suffering from autoimmune diseases.
  • Rheumatoid factor– it is present in blood sample of children suffering from JRA
  • Cyclic citrullinated peptide- it is also an antibody found in children with JRA.

However in many children blood test may not reveal any significant abnormality.

  1. Imaging scans such as X-rays, MRI are done to rule out fractures, tumors, congenital defects and infections.

Management of Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

  • The doctor may prescribe combinations of treatments to ease the symptoms, maintain normal physical activity, and prevent complications.
  • In severe cases, surgery is recommended

Home remedies for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

  • Application of heat or cold compress- According to what eases you
  • Your child’s symptoms hot or cold packs can be applied to the affected parts. Your child may also have a hot or cold shower.
  • Regular exercises- swimming and walking are the best exercises to promote the flexibility of joint and muscles.
Image Source: kidsexercise.co.uk
Image Source: kidsexercise.co.uk
  • Proper diet- Balanced diet helps to maintain a proper weight and prevent exerting extra pressure on joints. Diet should be adequate in calcium.

To prevent the complications of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, it is very important to acknowledge the symptoms and get timely treatment. If JRA becomes advanced remission chances are lowered.

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